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The famous Benedictine phrase is Ora et Labora — prayer and work — but what it means is that work becomes prayer.
That is the message of the beautifully shot, austere short film The Paschal Candle that St. Benedict’s Abbey debuted April 22 featuring the voice of Father Meinrad Miller singing The Exsultet, the proclamation of Easter from the Easter vigil.
The film, and the candle that is its subject, is the work of Brother Karel Soukup is a monk at St. Benedict’s Abbey and a part-time art student at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.
He made his first vows in 2014, but had entered several years earlier. “I entered the novitiate here in 2007 with Br. Leven, and was here for a year before I went to study in a diocesan seminary for a while,” he said.
In the Abbey, Brother Karel’s main job is being an artisan. He creates what is needed from candle stands to paintings to binding books, including the Gospel book used at all the Abbey Masses that sits on the altar. He also decorates the Paschal Candle each year.